Advice

On enjoying the ride

I’m 26, she’s 46. We’ve known each other for several years. I asked her out a month ago pretty convinced she’d turn me down on principle, but instead she said yes and it’s been amazing (loving, supportive, attentive…). But..I think both of us are feeling like we’re taking advantage of the other one. Her as the older, “should know better/I’m getting the better deal” standpoint, and me from the “I have a whole life of other options and the ability to get away if things go south” standpoint. Maybe they’re not relationship-ruining concerns, but at least for me, I have a fairly constant fear of eventually breaking her heart and then disappearing. I guess I’m asking if we are doomed, or if I should just accept that things could always end and I should enjoy the ride.

 

No, no. Don’t accept that things could always end. Accept that things will always end. Embrace the inevitability. That’s the only way you’ll ever truly enjoy the ride.

(This applies to everything in your life, not just your doomed relationship.)

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17 thoughts on “On enjoying the ride

  1. Wwaxwork says:

    I’m a woman married to a man that is 17 years younger than me. We’ve known each other 12 years & been married for 6 of those. The age matters less to us than it does to anyone else. We both went into this with a similar attitude of this will be fun while it lasts & we’ll do the whole try to be kind & leave each other better than we found each other thing. We are still very happily married, though we work at it like most people in long term relationships. He now thinks we’ll last forever. I keep the promise we made to each other & make sure we both have resources in place in case it doesn’t but live each day as if it will last, because hey stranger things have happened.

  2. ragazza says:

    This person is assuming the other person doesn’t have options or will be destroyed if he/she leaves because she’s older (“I have a whole life of other options and the ability to get away if things go south”). Uh, she’s not on her deathbed. She still has options. And a larger perspective on life.

  3. Strangely Rational says:

    “Her as the older, ‘should know better/I’m getting the better deal’ standpoint, and me from the ‘I have a whole life of other options and the ability to get away if things go south’ standpoint . . . I have a fairly constant fear of eventually breaking her heart and then disappearing.”

    Well, aren’t you an arrogant little shit?

    First of all, you think that she’s getting a better deal than you? Why is that? Because your youth makes you more attractive and therefore worth more, so she’s the one being honored by your attention rather than the other way around?

    Second, you think that when you break up, your prospects will be better? She’s the one whose heart is going to be broken when you disappear and not be able to find anyone to replace you?

    Yes, this relationship is doomed. And I hope it ends with her realizing that she can do much better and dumping you on your ass for someone with some maturity who actually respects and values her.

  4. Asker says:

    Maybe I should have specified, these are each our personal insecurities in this relationship. The “should know better/getting a better deal” thing are her words, not mine. The “being able to get away” thing comes from the fact that my job contract has way more flexibility/ability to terminate than hers, and I’m way less established in the city we live in. I can leave and have way less uprooting to do.

    Not that I think any of the above points are wrong. I do feel like a shit for the way I feel, and know that relationships with big age gaps can work. I dare to hope that we can work in the long term, even if I’m almost positive we can’t.

    Maybe the real question is whether its ethical to continue a serious relationship and upend someone’s life if you have doubts like these…

    • Brynn says:

      You didn’t need to clarify, even though a few people were unclear.

      The older people get, the more roots they tend to have (and it’s likely you would know whether or not that’s true for her). More roots do mean more to lose, but I have a feeling you’re glossing over the flip-side. More roots generally mean more support. How does your support network compare to hers if it’s so easy for you to uproot? What people lack in mobility, (hopefully) they make up for in fortification.

      And her concern seems equally frivolous. I mean, age is not the discerning factor. Age is mostly an indicator of a variety of temperaments, perspectives, and experiences that fade, change, and accumulate. A relevant example is how fucking difficult young people tend to make it to break up. She’s probably more emotionally prepared for that than you are. She’s probably more emotionally prepared for most aspects of a relationship, good and bad. But what people lack in experience, (hopefully) they make up for in receptivity and flexibility.

      Your concerns are cute and all, but like Coke said, enjoy the ride. If you trust each other, then trust in each others abilities to cope. Trust in your own ability to cope.

      And don’t stop communicating until it’s over.

  5. Nicole p. says:

    So, I deal with life and death, quite literally (nurse) everyday I work. It’s a privilege. Relationships and people are what make people’s lives tangible and meaningful and the things that they have the most joys/regrets about. Be in the relationship. Love big and be kind because Coke is right; the relationship will end. And guess what? None of us gets out alive, taking the ride is what it’s all about!

  6. WhoAmI says:

    Oh my god, what a bunch of bitter old people up in that comment section ! Get yourself a cocktail and listen to some smooth jazz or something.

    • Giuliana says:

      i second this! dating an older person can give you a new perspective on your internal and external world, provided they are a smart older person and you are observant and take time to reflect. have fun, but also take this as the potential opportunity for personal growth that it may well be.

  7. Light37 says:

    “No, no. Don’t accept that things could always end. Accept that things will always end. Embrace the inevitability. That’s the only way you’ll ever truly enjoy the ride.”

    Truth.

    My parents 52-year relationship and 50 years of marriage “ended” when mom died. Everything ends somehow. Their relationship ended with them still liking, loving, and respecting each other. There are worse things that can happen.

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